When Boney Kapoor nearly played father to brother Anil on stage

Hindi cinema has had its share of troikas of brothers, the most famous being the Kapoors — Raj, Shammi and Shashi — and the Gangulys — Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar and Anoop Kumar.

Among the contemporary lot we have producer Boney Kapoor and his actor brothers Anil and Sanjay.

Boney Kapoor and his daughter Janhvi were in conversation with writer Rumi Jaffery at the 49th International Film Festival of Goa.

Jaffery began by pointing out how Hindi cinema has seen its share of brother troikas. Traditionally, it has been the oldest brother playing a significant role for his siblings. And Boney Kapoor takes pride in being there for his brothers.

“I was a big brother, and I am one big brother and I will always be one big brother,” he quipped. “I am used to my responsibilities. Earlier it was my brothers, now there are also their families. I always pray to god that I should continue in the same spirit.”

Daughter Janhvi, who made her cinema debut with the Dharma Productions film Dhadak (2018), added that many a time Boney Kapoor also shoulders responsibilities that are not his.

Boney, Anil and Sanjay are the sons of the late film producer Surinder Kapoor. While Boney and Anil both wanted to be actors, the older brother went into production. However, not many may know that he once came close to playing father to Anil Kapoor on stage.

Recalling the incident, Boney Kapoor said, “We did just one play, tilted Devta, directed by Amjad Khan. I was playing Anil’s father. We had even rehearsed for it, but on the day of the show Anil fell sick. So that casting coup was never completed. After that, I decided that Anil should focus on acting while I should concentrate on production.”

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The senior Kapoor also narrated an interesting story where Anil wanted his older brother’s name, but the late Raj Kapoor advised against it.

“Anil didn’t like his name,” Boney Kapoor said. “He felt it was too common. He wanted to change his name to Achal Kumar. Achal is my real name, my pet name is Boney. Word reached Raj Kapoor who said never do that.”

The producer recalled a proud moment when Raj Kapoor praised him after watching his production Hum Paanch (1980), which also featured Anil Kapoor. “Raj uncle said that from today a new branch of the Kapoors has been created,” he said. “But he had a strange habit; he looked you in the eye and then spat three times. I didn’t understand that reaction.”

Boney Kapoor started his film career as an editor and also assisted noted filmmaker Shakti Samanta in the 1970s. Jaffery asked Boney Kapoor why he never took up direction.

The veteran admitted that he did harbour an ambition of becoming a director, but a situation arose that needed him to look after the family’s production business started by Surinder Kapoor.

“Before being an assistant director, I was an assistant editor,” he said. “I did 5-6 films. Then I joined Shaktida as an assistant. I did more than my share of my work. I assisted him between 1975 and 1977.

“Around the same time, our production, my father, we were doing Phool Khile Hain Gulshan Gulshan (1978). The director [Sikander Khanna] passed away halfway through the film. So, I had to leave Shaktida and come to this side [the home production company]. Around the same time, my father had a heart issue. Direction was left on the back burner and I had to take on the mantle of running the production show. So, it has been production since, but I still have the passion to direct,” Boney revealed.

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The veteran cheekily suggested that maybe he would direct his daughter, son Arjun Kapoor and his brothers, all in one film. Janhvi Kapoor was quick to remind her father that in that case, it would resemble a reality show more than a film.

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